The World's End Review

The World’s End (2013) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg,  Edgar Wright
Stars: Simon Pegg,  Nick Frost,  Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan

“The World’s End” is about Five friends Gary King (Pegg), Andy Knightley (Frost, Oliver Chamberlain (Freeman), Steven Prince (Considine) and Peter Page (Marsan) who reunite (or tricked into reuniting by Gary) in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from twenty years earlier unwittingly become humanity’s only hope for survival.

“The World’s End” was the concluding film to the infamous “Corneto Trilogy”. On its release it had been 9 years since “Shaun of the Dead” and 6 years since “Hot Fuzz” and the audiences anticipation was high and I don’t mind admitting it, but at the time of watching this at the time I was a left a little underwhelmed. In fact, this review may have been a lot different if I was basing this on my first experience of watching this movie. I decided to go back and watch the movie this week and I have to say that my experience this time around was surprisingly enjoyable.

Whilst I’m admitting stuff here I confess of making the cardinal sin of “expecting” this part of the trilogy to top both “Shaun” and “Fuzz” and this is where my first time viewing destroyed my expectations. How could any Edgar Wright movie (at the time) top his previous two? What was I thinking? Anyway……..

“The Five Musketeers” head for Newton Haven, a small town where the five friends grew up, moved on and never gave the town a second thought. Well apart from Gary a a 40-year old man trapped in the mindset of his teenage years, who drags his reluctant four other friends to attempt to reach the pub, The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present. Until a shocking truth is uncovered whilst Gary has a fight with a teenager in the toilets of one of the pubs. The five realise that there is more going on in their old stomping ground than they initially realised.

One of the things I enjoy about this movie is the parts both Pegg and Frost play. In “Shaun” both of them portrayed losers. In “Fuzz” Pegg portrays a career driven serious character up against Frost’s bumbling and slobbish PC Danny Butterman. In this movie Frost finally plays the straight man, the business man and to a point the sensible man up against Pegg’s gormless, immature and relentless Gary. When you back these characters up with the excellent supporting roles played by Freeman, Considine and Marsan you know the banter between them is going to be “a fried slice of gold”

The character’s are quite fleshed out early on and the script allows the audience to understand the insight to all five characters without the storyline being bogged down or losing its way. The other thing about Edgar Wright films is watching out for cameos throughout the movie that will always have been related to past projects by the director and it’s always nice to see that he is willing to use them and I assume the actors themselves are equally willing to appear no matter how brief their appearance may be.

With the movie being 4 years old now I will have divulge in some spoilers (so if you haven’t watched this movie yet it may be an idea to stop reading now) to allow my view and opinion on some of the scenes that may have to reveal certain aspects of the film.

I mentioned the toilet scene earlier and briefly. This scene to me is the Mark of a great director and again just like previously from Wright he can take any scenario and make it look like an action packed adrenaline rush sequence……yes even in the Gents loo. The fighting sequences and the reveal to me on first viewing was actually of shock when the teenagers Head was smashed against the urinal by Gary only for the head to explode and all this blue dye spraying everywhere. What had just happened?

What had just happened in fact was the key plot point. Personally I would have just have enjoyed a movie about these five guys on a pub crawl and that would have satisfied me to an extent but here we had a situation and more importantly a gamble by the writers (Wright and Pegg) on whether an invasion by blue dyed robots posing as regular people would go down well. Well did it? Well for me on first time viewing as I explored earlier although the initial reveal was surprising and shocking there was another hour of this movie to go and I was concerned that the storyline peaked too early.

Watching this again I realised that the script for the second half of the movie was as consistent as the first half and it was my expectation back in 2013 that soured my outlook on the movie initially and nothing else. “The World’s End” is a good movie. Not as great as “Shaun of the Dead” or as interesting as “Hot Fuzz” but still strong enough with a great cast having a good script. The Direction for the movie was always going to carry it regardless and with a 1990’s “indie” soundtrack, audiences of a certain age (my age) will enjoy reliving their youth (much as Gary King did in this film) “The World’s End” was always going to be up against it billing it as part of that trilogy and perhaps that affected it slightly with its expectations. If you haven’t watched it yet I recommend you do, just don’t go into it the way I did back in 2013. Instead, do what I did last week and just enjoy a two hour film that will make you laugh.

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